Cross River - Mr Vincent Aquah, Director-General, Cross River State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), said on Tuesday that water from Lagdo Dam in Cameroon displaced more than 12, 000 people in the state.
Aquah made the statement while addressing Community Relations Officers (CRO) of the 18 local government areas in the state in Calabar, adding that 49 communities in seven local government areas were affected by the flood.
``We have a large volume of water coming in as a result of the discharge of water from Cameroon’s Lagdo Dam and it is the manifestation of what we had earlier been warned against,’’ he said.
Aquah said the affected communities were located in Ikom, Yala, Ogoja, Obubra, Abi, Biase and Odukpani areas of Cross River.
He expressed regret that many communities in the state that had never experienced flooding before were submerged in recent times.
Aquah said that Cross River had the largest number of communities affected by flooding.
``The rivers are over charged, farms destroyed, property worth millions destroyed and we also recorded a number of loss of lives,’’ he said.
Aquah said there was an invasion of reptiles, including, crocodiles and snakes, in many communities.
Aquah said the floods affected a large section of agricultural communities and expressed fear that there might be a poor harvest in the 2012 farming season.
He said that the agency had received another alert that between now and November, excess water from the dam would still be discharged.
Aquah said that the government would design measures to ensure that the severity of the next flooding would be reduced.
He said the seven local government areas affected in Cross River and other areas which relied on the communities for food were likely to experience famine for two years.
``In the recent past, we had an alert and warning that there is going to be flood in certain areas in Cross River as a result of discharge of water from Lagdo Dam in Cameroon.
``We also have to sensitise our people to life saving measures and possible evacuation and to save life and property in the affected areas.
``We are working with surveyors so that we can convince ourselves that the recent flooding is as a result of the dam water from Lagdo Dam in Cameroon, ’’ he said.
He, however, explained that the reason that the Federal Government had not responded to the flooding situation in Cross River was as a result of inadequate information.
``It means that the Federal Government does not have adequate information as to the number of communities that lie along the trail of the water that will be coming from Cameroon,’’ he said.
He said that the agency had adopted strategies to adequately inform the Federal Government that Cross River had been the worst hit by flooding.
He said SEMA would collaborate with CROs, personnel from the Ministry of Disaster Management, Red Cross, Police, Fire Service and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps to sensitise the community to future occurrences of flooding.
Aquah called on the Federal Government to urgently provide relief materials for communities affected by the flood.
``We are looking forward to an immediate response from the Federal Government because what happened in Cross River was beyond the capacity of the state, ’’ he said.
He urged the media to create awareness about the effects of the future release of water from Lagdo Dam so that the people would not be taken unawares..